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NABINGAR/DINARA: Taking a swipe at his bete noire Lalu Prasad, chief minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday said during 15 years of RJD rule in Bihar except for anointing wife on the chief miniterial chair did the government do anything for the upliftment of women.

He took an apparent dig at the young opposition leadership in the polls, without taking any names, saying that “those even having no knowledge of alphabets of politic are making statements against me day and night to gain publicity”.

“Let them take publicity, I don’t bother because I believe in working and not making speeches for the sake of publicity,” he said addressing rallies in Nabinagar in Aurangabad and Dinara in the neighbouring Rohtas district.

Though he did not take any name, the message seems directed at RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav and LJP chief Chirag Paswan who are making all-out attack on Kumar.

After launching campaign for the current Bihar polls Monday with a virtual rally, Kumar started touring the state from Wednesday to address public meetings.

On Saturday, he held public meetings at Nabinagar, Nokha, karaghar and ended at Dinara in Rohtas district.

Coming down heavily on his main opponent Lalu Prasad, he reeled out comparative data to tell people about the situation prevailing in the state before NDA under him took over the reins in 2005 end.

Making special mention of condition of women during the two regimes, Kumar said “while the leader at that time installed wife on the chair (of CM) but did he do anything for welfare of the females?”

RJD president Lalu Prasad, who became chief minister of Bihar in 1990 had taken his wife Rabri Devi out of kitchen and made her the chief minister when he had to go to jail in 1997 in connection with a multi-crore fodder scam case.

Prasad spent long time in prison and in his absence Rabri Devi continued to hold CM post.

Her chief ministerial tenure even exceeds that of Prasad’s seven years.

Nitish Kumar as leader of the NDA had thrown the RJD out of power in November 2005 and since then he is at the helm of the state affairs.

Like in the past, Kumar, who has been declared the NDA face in the polls, kept his focus on the RJD which is spearheading Grand Alliance and continued to attack his main political rival Lalu Prasad, spending time in Ranchi jail after conviction in four cases of fodder scam.

Kumar is keeping his campaign narrative around “15 years vs 15 years”, appealing voters to compare performance of the NDA and the RJD regimes that spent an equal amount of 15 years.

Highlighting work done for women during 15-year under him, Kumar said while girls were inspired to pursue studies through bicycle yojna, 50 per cent of seats in the panchayats and urban local bodies were reserved for women.

More recently the state government earmarked 35 per cent of jobs for women in police force and other state government services.

“Does any state has more number of women in the police force than Bihar?” he asked the crowd.

Kumar also made reference of launching JEEVIKA programme for the women by providing easy finance to women self help groups to empower them economically.

“We had planned to enroll 10 lakh women through SHGs but the number has increased to 1.2 crore now,” he said addressing a rally in Dinara in favour of state minister and JD(U) nominee from the seat Jai Kumar Singh.

He also talked about providing Rs 10,000 assistane to girls clearing plus two exam and Rs 25,000 to those completing graduation and said this would be increased to Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively if his government returns to power.

Kumar highlighted bad law and order situation in Bihar during the RJD rule and cited latest figure of the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) which placed Bihar on 23 rd position in terms of crime now.

The NDA chief ministerial candidate said while they believe in working for the people, the history of the opponents makes it clear that they work only for their wife, sons and children.

“Due to this greed of working only for self, they are behind the bars,” he said adding “some more will follow the suit.”

Though he did not take any names, the barbs were apparently directed at Prasad and his family.

Kumar made rich praise of the central government in assisting development of Bihar and caring for its people.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi government is providing food grains to the poor free from March to November in the wake of coronovirus pandemic and also gave RS 6000 assistance to farmers as a help during the present crisis period,” he said.

He said if voted to power the state and the centre would further step up efforts to see Bihar stand among the frontline states.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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India calls for complete ceasing of support to terrorist forces in Middle East




UNITED NATIONS: India has called on all concerned parties to completely stop supporting terrorist forces, like the ISIS, while urging all stakeholders in the Middle East to work constructively for peace, stability and development.

India underscored that it has invested considerably in the peace and stability of the region by deploying its personnel as part of UN peacekeeping forces, through humanitarian assistance, development cooperation, capacity building, and will continue contributing towards peace-building in the Middle East.

“India calls on concerned parties to completely stop support to terrorist forces, like ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) and others. India also urges all parties in the region to work constructively and in good faith to promote peace, stability and development for the benefit of all people in the Middle East,” India said in a written statement on Monday on the Security Council’s open debate on ‘The Situation in the Middle East’.

India said the truce between Israel and the Hamas has eased the humanitarian situation in Gaza and expressed hope that the temporary truce is converted into a permanent ceasefire, which can save precious human lives on both sides and create a conducive environment for talks.

“It is an unfortunate reality that the interlinked and mutually reinforcing challenges faced by the people of the Middle East have not yet been resolved. Political instability, long-festering conflicts, sectarian divides, issue of refugees and terrorism continue to plague the region. The COVID-pandemic has only exacerbated the threats posed by these challenges,” India said.

The statement made India’s permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador T S Tirumurti, will go as part of the official record of the Council.

India said it appreciates the agreement between Fatah and Hamas for holding Parliamentary and Presidential elections and also elections for the Palestinian National Council, which will help fulfill the democratic aspirations of the Palestinian people.

India also welcomed the agreements for normalisation of relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain. “India has always supported peace and stability in West Asia, which is our extended neighbourhood,” India said.

Further, India said the commencement of discussions on the disputed border between Israel and Lebanon is a significant development, expressing hope that this will provide an opportunity to resolve the longstanding issue between the two countries.

India highlighted that Palestinian aspirations for a sovereign and independent state are yet to be fulfilled and stressed that New Delhi has been unwavering in its commitment to the Palestinian cause and continues to remain supportive of a peaceful negotiated resolution of the Palestinian issue.

“India has supported the two-state solution as a just and acceptable solution to the conflict. Establishment of a Palestinian State living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel, within mutually agreed borders should be achieved through negotiations directly by the two parties,” India said adding that any stalemate could strengthen the hands of extremists and shut the door to cooperation thereby jeopardising the security, stability and prosperity of the people on both sides and the region.

Accordingly, India urged Israel and Palestine to resume direct negotiations at the earliest and called upon the international community to take concrete steps towards resuming and facilitating these negotiations quickly.

India noted that the decade-long armed conflict in Syria has claimed over 400,000 lives, displaced 6.2 million people internally and compelled another 6.3 million people to seek shelter in neighbouring countries.

“While we are heartened to see return of normalcy to major parts of the country, we are also reminded of the enormous resources that would be required to provide urgent humanitarian aid, rebuild infrastructure, enable return of the refugees and restore a normal and dignified life of all Syrians,” the statement said.

India said in the statement that it is not only contributing to the return of normalcy and rebuilding of Syria, but has also consistently called for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict through a Syrian-led dialogue, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the people of Syria.

India voiced concern over the security and humanitarian situation in Yemen and said the recent exchange of prisoners by the Government of Yemen and Ansar Allah, who had been detained in connection with the conflict, is a welcome development.

“India hopes that the parties will take more confidence building measures to provide the necessary impetus for the full implementation of the Stockholm Agreement,” the statement read.

India also hopes for peace and stability in Iraq with full respect for Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

India noted that in the aftermath of the August blast that brought destruction to vast swathes of Beirut and inflicted heavy loss of lives, India stood in solidarity with Lebanon.

New Delhi sent emergency humanitarian aid of over 58 metric tons to Beirut. “We look forward to the swift formation of a new government that can offer political stability and also tackle the grave socio-economic challenges being faced by the people of Lebanon,” the statement said.

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US, India must focus on threat posed by China: Secretary of state Mike Pompeo




NEW DELHI: US secretary of state Mike Pompeo on Tuesday stressed on the need for Washington and New Delhi to work together to counter the threat posed by Beijing to “security and freedom”

Pompeo’s comment came during the crucial 2+2 dialogue between India and the US, which saw the signing of a crucial defence agreement between the two countries.

“There is much more work to do for sure. We have a lot to discuss today: Our cooperation on the pandemic that originated in Wuhan, to confronting the Chinese Communist Party’s threats to security and freedom to promoting peace and stability throughout the region,” Pompeo said during talks with defence minister Rajnath Singh and external affairs minister S Jaishankar. Pompeo was joined by defence secretary Mark Esper.

Esper too focussed on the apparent threat posed by China, specifically in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Our focus now must be on institutionalising and regularising our cooperation to meet the challenges of the day and uphold the principles of a free and open Indo-Pacific well into the future,” Esper said.

The comments assume significance as India is locked in a border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.

In June this year, 20 Indian soldiers and an unspecified number of PLA soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, hardening the mood in India against China and driving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to seek closer military ties with the United States.

In the US, President Donald Trump has made being tough on China a key part of his campaign to secure a second term in next week’s presidential election and Pompeo has been trying to bolster allies to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.

This month, India invited Australia to join naval drills it holds each year with the United States and Japan, brushing off Chinese concerns that the exercises destabilise the region.

(With inputs from agencies)

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defence Secretary Mark Esper meet NSA Doval




NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark T Esper on Tuesday held talks with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, covering key aspects of growing strategic ties between the two countries.

Issues of strategic importance were discussed at the meeting, sources said.

The meeting took place ahead of the third edition of 2+2 ministerial dialogue. Esper and Pompeo arrived here on Monday for the crucial talks aimed at further boosting the defence and security ties between the two countries.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held separate talks with their US counterparts on Monday.

Earlier on Tuesday, both the top US administration officials visited the National War Memorial and paid tributes to India’s fallen heroes.

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